I am just so thrilled that I started this series as have had some truly wonderful parents of smalls share their thoughts on the teen years. As a blogger with teens, I definitely fall in the minority amongst the parenting blogs but this series really gives me that opportunity to connect that little more with those with smalls. I feel that perhaps the teen years don’t feel quite so lonely now as a blogger.
The series has seen the Unmumsy Mum share her thoughts. The Mother Pukka, too. We’ve seen Charlie, from Mess & Merlot, as well as the London Dad and Kate Orson, Mother of Daughters and the Beta Mummy. I’ve many more fabulous bloggers lined up for you too and today I am delighted to welcome the Instagram guru that is Harriet from Toby & Roo to share her insights prospectively into this era of childhood that so many seem to fear! Harriet, thank you. Over to you!
I know it’s a long way off but what are you dreading about your children becoming teens? I think on a very basic level I’m dreading the attitude! My son is already breaking out the most epic of strops and I am not looking forward to chucking a bundle of raging hormones into the mix. On a more serious note I am genuinely and breathtakingly terrified of the online bullying side of being a teen – how am I going to protect them when it just wasn’t a thing when I was a child?
What are you looking forward to? Hmm. I think I’m looking forward to having a little bit more freedom with them and I’m certainly hoping for family time that involves us all having a giggle and enjoying each others company on a slightly better wavelength. I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I’m hoping Edith wants to do spa days and things like that, only because I remember loving it with my mum (and still do)! I’d equally love it with the boys. I’m also so excited to watch them turn into adults!
As a parent, what issues do you imagine are important when raising teens? I feel like trust is a huge thing – I recently read an article about having a text code whereby your teen could text you “X” if they were feeling under pressure or unhappy in their situation and you would call them to say I have to pick you up from wherever you are there is an emergency – so it freed them from the peer pressure and from ridicule, but you also had to stick to the understanding that you wouldn’t ask questions, even if they were miles from where they said they were going. You’d trust that they had known the situation that they were about to be in was a bad one and they weren’t afraid to come to you. I had a very similar relationship with my mum. I told her everything – from boys to booze: EVERYTHING… because I knew I wasn’t going to have the book thrown at me but that I could confide in her and trust her to help me. We had trust.
What kind of parent do you think or hope (!) you’ll be when your children are in their teen years? I hope I can be a relaxed mum – not a push over but one that my kids can say isn’t stifling them growing and making mistakes, but also one that isn’t happily standing by and watching them screw up without any advice or warning. I don’t want to be their friend – that is one thing I’ve never felt is great when parents become “friends”. I’m their mum, but I would also like to be a confidant…
I’ll probably read this back in ten years and howl at my naivety…
Is there anything you’d like to say to your own parents before your children become teens or were you an angel? Ahem… yeah… I have actually apologised to my mum on a number of occasions for the stress I must have put her under during my teens years and in fairness I really wasn’t that bad. I think I’ve always been headstrong but a headstrong, foolhardy teen isn’t a good combo! My husband was a HORRIBLE teenager apparently so when I listen to him grovelling to his mother I feel marginally better!
Is there any advice that you would give your children before they get to the teen stage? Yes, but I know for a fact it will fall on deaf ears. I would urge them all to ignore peer pressure and be themselves. Even at the tender age of 5 and 4 the boys have started to change their likes and dislikes to suit their friend’s at school (which went down especially badly when Reuben declared he wanted to support the rival football team to his dad because “so and so” does…) Just TRY not to let other’s change you or bend you to their will!
Do you envisage raising teens to be an easier stage than raising littles? I think it will come with its own, totally unique challenges. More difficult? Maybe not, but easier? No. I doubt that too!
Harriet, I love your answers. I particularly sympathise with the sentiments around trust. With trust, the whole teen stage is just so much easier and, as you say, that goes both ways. Trust and communication are vital through these stages! The having a chance to spend time as a family doing things that you all enjoy is wonderful (most of the time and particularly if they aren’t having a whole load of attitude at that point!) and about and watching them grow ( again minus the attitude!). The online bullying is a real fear but there is so much more awareness around this now so, hopefully, this will be reduced considerably by the time yours reach the teen years. You do make me giggle about your husband having been a horrid teen. Here’s hoping that it’s not payback with your children! Your answers are wonderful and I really doubt that you will look back and think you were naive!
The online bullying is a real fear but there is so much more awareness around this now so, hopefully, this will be reduced considerably by the time yours reach the teen years. Oh, and your advice around the text code X is just fantastic and something I’ve shared with my three. Finally, you do make me giggle about your husband having been a horrid teen. Here’s hoping that it’s not payback with your children! Your answers are wonderful and I really doubt that you will look back and think you were naive! Thank you just so much for being part of this. It has been an absolute pleasure to read and share your thoughts.
If anyone would like to take part in this series, please mail me at email@example.com